The Leon Foundation
Oct 30, 2014 05:28PM ● Published by Bill Romanelli
Dr. Joyce Leon-Gomez – Photo by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
“I started working with my father at the age of 16,” says Leon-Gomez, the oldest of six children, “and that shaped my own commitment to public service. My passion is for education that helps every child be part of the global community.” With that passion and mission, Leon-Gomez founded the Leon Foundation in honor of her father in 2009. Its vision is to provide under-served children in Peru with access to technology that will equip them to pursue meaningful careers and change the paths of their lives for the better. She created the foundation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in El Dorado Hills and sets a goal each year to raise $5,000-$10,000 to provide computers and equipment to schools. There are also projects that teach parents the basics of technology in order to help their children outside school.
In Lima alone, there are more than 5,000 public schools, so at the current rate, the foundation’s mission is clearly a marathon, not a sprint. Leon-Gomez hopes as time goes on, she’ll be able to help more schools at a faster rate. To put that in perspective, every $500 buys a new top-of-the-line computer, thanks to a partnership she has with INNOVA PC in Lima, which provides the computers at half-price. With $10,000, she can furnish a school with an entire computer lab, software, cameras and tools for the teachers. To date, the foundation has raised more than $55,000, benefiting more than 4,000 students at five public schools.
“Working with my father, I saw and continue to see the great need that is present in places like Peru, where the schools do get some help from the government, but not nearly enough,” Leon-Gomez says. “Access to technology helps prepare these kids for life in the 21st century. At the same time, it helps elevate their creativity and broadens their perspective of the world.”
Of course, the engine that drives any nonprofit is donations, and the Leon Foundation is no exception. Leon-Gomez has been able to attract a promising list of sponsors and donors, but is actively looking for additional private donations and grants.
“Here in the U.S. we’re somewhat lucky that while there are many needs, there are also a lot of organizations and resources to help meet those needs,” Leon-Gomez says. “That’s really not the case in most countries outside the U.S. Hopefully the students we help today will learn the skills they need to return to their communities and support them directly in the future.”
For more info, visit leonfoundation.org.